Founder of Bundles of Joy NY, Adrienne Harper leads a full life. She took some time from her busy schedule to talk to Suburbs 101. Here is Bundles of Joy NY, Adrienne Harper’s Move from Boston to Bronxville, NY
Tell me about your journey from Boston to Bronxville, NY
We moved to Bronxville in 2016 by way of Boston, actually. My husband was finishing up his MBA and we had our daughter there. I am from Boston and Patrick grew up in New York City so we always assumed we’d move back to New York at some point. With a very mobile 15 month old, I had zero interest in being confined to a tiny New York apartment so we researched nearby towns with great schools and learned about Bronxville. We were originally looking in Connecticut but as soon as we visited Bronxville, it felt like home. I vividly remembered driving through town and said, “this is our home,” and we haven’t looked back since. I guess when you know, you know.
Why did you choose to move to Bronxville, NY?
We originally looked in Greenwich and nearby Connecticut towns. As lovely as they are, I just never felt like it was my home. I used to say this line to my real estate agent “this is someone else’s home, not mine,” and that’s just how I felt about these other towns.
When you moved to Bronxville, did you know anyone? Any advise for newcomers on the best way to meet people?
We learned about Bronxville through a friend of ours who grew up here and moved back to town when he and his wife were expecting twins. We took a day trip from Boston to check out an apartment and we fell in love immediately. It did not take long to make friends. I met my best friend at a baby gym class. She also had just moved from the City and we were both stay at home moms. She introduced me to a great group of friends and then the friend group started growing and growing. I felt a real sense of belonging, very early on. This is a pleasant surprise because I am used to Boston where people tend to keep to themselves and aren’t extremely friendly to newcomers.
Can you describe your social life?
I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends. I love them so much and they’re probably my favorite part of living in Bronxville. You typically hear that it’s difficult to make new friends in your adult life but that’s definitely not the case here.
How old are your kids? What do you like to do with your kids in Bronxville or in the area?
I have two kids, a 3.5 years old girl and a 15 months old boy. They ARE my social life. I’ve made so many great friends through my kids. My kids are involved in ballet, gymnastics, tennis, swim class…there’s never a dull moment.
What are the best playgrounds and parks in the area?
Before I had my son, I took my daughter to Sagamore Park every. single. day. I had a group of mom friends and we’d meet there and it was such a great routine. It was fun. Last summer was not as easy with a tiny baby but now we’re going more frequently although it’s challenging keeping an eye on both kids!
What are some things you don’t like about Bronxville?
There are some vacant storefronts in town that I would love to see filled because I truly love shopping in the village and it’s important to support local small businesses. I think a lot of people want to see businesses thrive in our town so I hope we can get shops that have staying power.
How would you describe Bronxville residents?
I’ve only lived in Bronxville for a few years but I would say my impression of Bronxville residents hasn’t changed since I first moved it – and that’s a great thing. I would describe them as family-oriented, friendly, community-focused, generous and supportive. I credit a lot of the success of my organization, Bundles of Joy NY (see bio for details) to the people of Bronxville. When people learn about what we do, their immediate response is “how can I help” and I think that says everything about the people who live here. We live in an affluent town but the people who live here don’t turn a blind eye to social injustice. I’ve met the kindest and most generous people here in Bronxville through my work with Bundles of Joy.
What are your favorite restaurants in Bronxville?
I’m scared to share all my gems because I like not having to wait. No, in all honesty, we absolutely LOVE Coals, best thin crust pizza and their honey rosemary wings are insane. We go to Coals once a week – it’s my favorite. We also really like Underhills Crossing and for bagels we always go to Park Place. My husband is a huge bagel snob because he grew up in the City but even he loves Park Place.
What are your go-to places in Bronxville?
I feel like Bronxville has a lot to offer and that I hardly ever HAVE to leave, which is really nice with two kids and an organization to run. Every place is really our go-to place. We love Slave to the Grind for coffee, my daughter asks to go to Topps Bakery every day after school, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t go to Value Drugs because it has everything you could ever want! I love Silver Spoon and Adrian East for baby / children’s clothing. It’s also so convenient to have such great stores in town for gifts, too. Just the other day I had an engagement party to go to so I popped into Silk Road and problem solved. Also, if you love cheese, Dobbs and Bishop is excellent. I had to have a dairy-free diet for almost a year and I actually fell in love with one of their vegan soups. So, it’s not just cheese.
What has your experience been so far with schools in Bronxville?
My daughter is only in Nursery school but we could not love her school any more than we do. Her school has helped create the sense of community that we associate with Bronxville, actually. We’re mostly friends with parents our child goes to school with and we’ve met so many nice and interesting people. Through her school, I met a lot of moms who have helped with Bundles of Joy.
Do you or your spouse take the train into New York City? What has your experience been with the Metro-North tra commute?
My husband takes the train into the City and we are so lucky because we live close enough to the train station where he can walk and we don’t need a parking space or a second car. That was actually the appeal of Bronxville — it is 27 minutes to Grand Central and we can still feel “cool” where we don’t have to drive everywhere we go. We love walking into town and just being free. Having to get into your car and load up the kids is so taxing. It’s nice to just take the stroller into town and get a coffee or go shopping. We walk most places.
Any tips/advice you wished someone had told you when you were looking to move to the suburbs?
I think you have to trust your gut. My sense of “home” isn’t going to be right for everyone so you just have to see a lot of places and go with your feeling. I was instantly drawn to Bronxville and I am so glad my instinct was dead on and that we’re very happy here. It’s a really big decision but at the same time, you’re not a tree — you can always move if you’re not happy.
Adrienne is the founder of Bundles of Joy NY, a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides essentials to babies, toddlers and new parents in critical need. She has worked in public service since graduating from the London School of Economics in 2009 with a Masters in Public Administration. After LSE, Adrienne worked for the nation’s largest welfare to work programs in New York City, creating employment opportunities for the jobless. She then became Chief of Staff to the Deputy Commissioner of the Parks Department before moving to Boston while her husband attended the Sloan School of Management. While in Boston, Adrienne volunteered for an organization with a similar mission, providing essentials to children from birth through twelve years. At the time, she was pregnant with her first child and couldn’t believe what parents were asking for – baby soap, pajamas, washcloths, shoes – the essentials. She knew this was her calling. “Parenthood is hard enough, I can’t imagine doing it without the necessary resources.” As a resident of Westchester, Adrienne could not be more excited to deliver bundles to those in her community.
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